Frankly, decent thrash metal has been hard to come by in recent years. Sure there’s been some gems along the way and several stalwarts and rising upstarts have dished up quality albums. But overall the genre that sparked my interest in metal in the first place has provided slim pickings. Fortunately Greek thrashers Bio-Cancer are here to breathe some much needed life into the genre with their interesting blend of razor sharp extreme thrash. With a debut album titled Ear Piercing Thrash, you immediately get a fair idea to what Bio-Cancer are all about. Sophomore album Tormenting the Innocent delivers a gimmick free blast of high-energy mayhem executed with airtight precision and blistering speed. Bursting at the seams with focused energy, Tormenting the Innocent sounds like Bio-Cancer locked themselves in a studio and binged on cocaine and Red Bull before ripping through the album’s nine rabid cuts. It’s that sustained burst of energy the band apply to their work that lends the album its frenetic and pulsating intensity.
Bio-Cancer’s sound fits somewhere in the limbo between old school thrash revivalists like Toxic Holocaust and Municipal Waste and a more potent contemporary form of blackened thrash. As such Bio-Cancer occupy an interesting space in the current thrash landscape, an advantageous position where they don’t quite qualify as either retro or modern thrash. The riffs leap from the speakers with violent energy, played with blazing speed and dexterity by guitarists’ Thanasis and Stavros. The duo are a formidable combination, delving out lively and aggressive riffs, occasionally darkened by blackened melodies and blazing solos on evil sounding rippers such as”Boxed Out” and “F(r)iends or Fiends.” Make no mistake, Bio-Cancer aren’t an intentionally loose and sloppy thrash band, these dudes can play. The musicianship is exceptionally tight across the board, with Tomek’s drumming brutally proficient and inventive, while even bassist Giannis gets a look in every now and then with some sweet basslines.
One aspect of Bio-Cancer’s infectious sound that’s sure to prove a sticking point for many are the vocals of Lefteris. The man possesses a high pitched blackened screech reminiscent of a deranged and seriously pissed off gremlin exorcising its demons. Personally I dig the vocal approach, particularly within the thrash context. But I can imagine, particularly for thrash purists, his performance being too grating or over-the-top for some listeners. Supporting his motor mouth delivery are some well placed gang-shouted backing vocals which lend the songs an appealing old school feel, used to particularly strong effect on the blistering title track. “Bulletproof” proves an apt choice as a lead off single, beginning with some tasty bass licks before unloading the band’s trademark caffeinated riffage and blazing rhythms. It’s a savagely catchy thrash nugget that burns ridiculous amounts of energy.
As fun and rollicking a ride as Tormenting the Innocent most surely is, the album is not without its drawbacks. Bio-Cancer’s single-minded vision to their song-writing results in some monotony creeping in and several songs become fairly interchangeable with one another. Tormenting the Innocent suffers the junk food effect of being instantly gratifying yet lacking lasting nutrients, with it being difficult to recall specific songs or moments once the album subsides. While it’s blasting however, this shit burns brightly. Tormenting the Innocent is armed with a gnarly guitar tone that sounds killer but could benefit from some added heft. And despite plenty of punch given to the instruments, the brickwalled recording holds back the album’s positive sonic attributes.
Quibbles aside, Tormenting the Innocent is an absolute blast to listen to. It doesn’t bust boundaries, nor is it guilty of sounding tired or derivative. Bio-Cancer have written a damn solid collection of raw and aggressive thrash tunes with the fun factor cranked to the max.